Tuesday, 2 February 2016

If You Steal by Jason Review


Jason, one of the finest cartoonists working today, is back with another collection of inspired stories featuring his familiar cast of animal-headed mopers, If You Steal. 

I never knew I wanted to read a story about Frida Kahlo as a hitman until Polly Wants a Cracker but I loved it! Dark and thrilling, the title’s the only words spoken in the story giving it this arthouse/experimental vibe to it. 

Karma Chameleon is a hilarious sci-fi b-movie-type short about a giant chameleon who’s abducting people in the desert - a bonkers professor and his daughter go to investigate. The weird visual of the chameleon, who pops up in the backgrounds unnoticed, is funny enough but the professor is inappropriately brilliant, repeatedly asking people about their masturbation habits! 

Nothing is the most touching story, about an old lady with Alzheimer’s. Jason represents the disease as invisible eyeless vultures who cover up people’s faces and move things around to make it seem like she’s forgetting - utterly exceptional. 

My favourite short was the insane rambling JFK conspiracy story starting in 2583 BC at Stonehenge and ending in an alternate future. Crazy and superb, Jason takes us through the centuries showing just enough in a single panel to get us to the next, often set years ahead - really masterful cartooning. 

The ones mentioned above are the standout stories for me. There are six others included (along with one which is a series of amusing Jason-ified horror comics covers) which are good as well though not as great. The Thrill Is Gone is a short that felt like Jason going a little too abstract, undermining the story; Night of the Vampire Hunter was an unimpressive generic vampire hunting story; and Waiting for Bardot was just about the silly joke ending. 

If You Steal isn’t my favourite Jason book but it’s still full of inventive stories from a remarkable artist whose comics show that he continues to grow and surprise his audience with each new volume. He’s truly a giant in the medium and so vital. This is an effortlessly compelling and stylish collection of comics that fans will need no encouragement to pick up and any comics fan who hasn’t read his work before will find to be a delightful introduction to this unique talent.

If You Steal

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